Applying for a Federal Direct Student Loan

While the Office of Financial Aid will automatically notify students with complete applications of their Federal Student Loan eligibility, we do not encourage borrowing. We do, however, encourage students to pursue scholarships, grants, student employment opportunities, and possibly paying for remaining expenses through current income and assets before accepting any loan. Limiting the amount of additional borrowing a student undertakes will help to reduce the total cost of the education.

HCU also provides a payment plan option. The plan allows students the opportunity to spread payments for the full balance due or any remaining balance due over 4 months during the fall and spring terms and over 3 months during the summer term with no interest. For more information on the HCU Payment Plan, please contact the Office of Financial Aid at (800) 367-3565, ext. 303.

If borrowing still remains a necessity, we strongly encourage students to borrow as little as possible and to research all of the loan programs available, considering cost of borrowing, interest expense, repayment provisions, and potential loan servicing fees in order to determine the best choice.

Important Note about Accepting Federal Direct Loans:
Prior to receiving any federally funded student loan, the Federal Government requires student loan borrowers to complete loan counseling (Entrance, Annual Student Loan Acknowledgement, and Exit) to ensure the understanding of Student Borrower Rights and Responsibilities and the obligations students are assuming. Loan counseling will also help students to learn about loan terms, tips for developing a personal budget, and helpful advice on how to manage educational expenses. NOTE: In accordance with federal regulations, HCU has the right to refuse to certify a loan or to certify a loan request for a reduced amount.

All students receiving Federal Direct student loans at HCU must complete an online ENTRANCE Counseling, Annual Student Loan Acknowledgement, and Sign the Master Promissory Note (MPN). All students receiving Federal Student Loans at HCU who file an intent to graduate, withdraw, or drop below half-time enrollment must complete an online EXIT Counseling. Students will need their FSA ID number used to complete the FAFSA and should allow approximately 30 minutes to complete the required loan counseling.

Loan disbursements will NOT be released until the student has completed the required counseling. A HOLD is attached to the records of students who are required to complete the Exit Counseling and will remain until the Exit Counseling is complete. Because holds will prevent school registration, class access,  and access to official transcripts, students are encouraged to respond in a timely manner when instructed to complete the Exit Counseling Session.

Student Loan Options

Federal Direct Loan – Subsidized and Unsubsidized
Federal Direct Parent Loan for Undergraduate Students (PLUS)
Non-Federal Private or Alternative Loans

Federal Direct Loans

Subsidized Loans have their interest paid by the federal government while the student is in school, enrolled at least half-time. Undergraduate students only can be eligibile for the Subsidized loan.

Unsubsidized Loans accrue interest, which the student in responsible for paying, from the time the full loan is disbursed to the student or student’s account. Both Undergraduate and Graduate students can be eligible for the Unsubsidized loan.

2020-2021 Loan Interest Rates and Origination Fees

The table below provides interest rates for Direct Loans first disbursed on or after July 1, 2021 and before July 1, 2022.

Loan Type Borrower Type Interest Rate
Direct Subsidized Loans and Direct Unsubsidized Loans Undergraduate 3.73%
Direct Unsubsidized Loans Graduate or Professional 5.28%
Direct PLUS Loans Parents and Graduate or Professional Students 6.28%

All interest rates shown in the chart above are fixed rates that will not change for the life of the loan.

Loan Origination Fees for Direct Subsidized Loans and Direct Unsubsidized Loans

First Disbursement Date Loan Fee
On or after 10/1/20 and before 20/1/22 1.057%

Loan Origination Fees for Direct PLUS Loans

First Disbursement Date Loan Fee
On or after 10/1/20 and before 20/1/22 4.228%

Federal Parent Loan for Undergraduate Students (Parent PLUS Loan)

With the Federal Parent Loan for Undergraduate Students (PLUS), the parent of the dependent undergraduate student is the borrower of the loan. The loan can be made available after the student has completed the FAFSA and has been awarded other forms of federal and/or scholarship aid. The parent may borrow up to the cost of attendance, minus other forms of aid, for each academic year. Like the federal direct Unsubsidized Loan, interest accrues from the time the loan is disbursed to the parent, or to the student, or to the student’s account. As noted above, the 2021-2022 interest rate for Parent PLUS Loan is fixed at 6.28% percent. Parents, click here to apply for the Parent Plus loan.

Non-Federal Loan Options

Private or Alternative Education Loans
Heritage Christian University is dedicated to providing students with the best possible solutions to assist with college funding. As a last resort, private or alternative student loans are available to students who are not eligible for federal student loans or who need assistance beyond their financial award eligibility. The loans are made privately through banks and other financial institutions and are subject to a credit check and individual lender terms. Eligibility is determined by the lender and amounts are limited to the cost of attendance minus other estimated financial awards. The loans are not subsidized or guaranteed by the federal government.

HCU does not promote private educational loans or participate in the Preferred Lender Lists Program. However, to assist students who consider private education loans, we are happy to direct them to The Smart Student Guide to Financial Aid website. The website provides helpful information about the annual and cumulative loan limits, interest rates, fees, and loan term for the most popular private student loan programs, and a basic comparison chart that highlights the key characteristics of the major private education loans. Students who are considering a private education loan should choose any eligible lender of their choice and HCU will process the student’s request accordingly.

Private or Alternative loan programs differ from Federal Direct Loans in several important ways:

  • Annual and total loan limits are higher
  • Interest rates are normally variable rates that change on a quarterly basis
  • Loans and interest rates are based on credit approval and approval is not guaranteed
  • Loans are not federally guaranteed; therefore, do not have the same deferment, cancellation and consolidation benefits

The terms and conditions for private or alternative loans vary greatly. Students are advised to compare loan programs before choosing a lender. Interest rates, fees, and other provisions of these programs are subject to change by the lender. Contact the lenders directly for detailed information on individual loan products.

Important Note about Applying for Private or Alternative Loans
New regulations recently passed now require all private loan borrowers to complete, sign, and return a Private Education Loan Applicant Self-Certification form to the lender they have selected before any funds can be disbursed to the school.

The Private Education Loan Applicant Self-Certification form was designed to assist students in making an informed decision about borrowing, giving students the opportunity to review information about their financial aid eligibility. The Self-Certification form requires information about the student borrower as well as the student’s Cost of Attendance (COA) for the loan period covered by the loan.

More Questions?
Contact the Office of Financial Aid:
(800) 367-3565, ext. 303 – toll free
(256) 766-6610, ext. 303 – direct
(256) 716-8021 – FAX
Or email at: mthompson@hcu.edu